Pleasing red wall with yellow leaves
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snowy day

As the decision phase for many incoming students comes to a close, it's time to think about the next big step: packing. 

It feels like just yesterday when I arrived on campus, bewildered with three enormous suitcases sprawled on my bedroom floor. The excitement of orientation, the dizzying array of choices at Target, and the occasional waves of homesickness marked my first weeks. Packing, especially for those who have never lived alone, can be daunting. But fear not—I've got some tips that might just make the process smoother.

Prepare for the Different Weather

For those coming from milder climates, Hanover's weather is a new experience! It rains or snows about 1-2 days each week in winter, so sturdy, warm, waterproof boots are a must. You don't want to find yourself wading through snow and puddles in sneakers! 

Layering is key to thriving in the Hanover winter. Bring a variety of layers and a warm jacket. If you're returning home during winter break, you don't need the heaviest coat initially for fall—just make sure to pack a moderately warm jacket and boots as temperatures drop quickly towards late fall (below 20F/-5C).

Snowy Dartmouth in April
Believe me or not – this photo was taken after a flash snow in April!

Also, consider a fan for the warmer early fall or late spring. While Hanover is rarely too hot these times of year, you can never be too safe!

The Fun Stuff: Campus Life Essentials

If you decide to participate in Greek Life (or even hope join an organization in your sophomore year), bring old sneakers you won't mind getting dirty. It might also be helpful to bring a worn, inexpensive jacket that you don't mind losing!

View of Mink Brook
Thanks to my hiking boots and clothings that allows me to go on many of the impromptu hikes on weekends!

For the outdoor enthusiasts, pack both regular and warm hiking boots, along with appropriate attire. While the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) offers gear, having your own means you're always ready for an impromptu adventure. A sleeping bag for cabin nights and your first-year trip is also useful, though it's also available through the DOC for free.

Addressing Homesickness 

One of the lesser-discussed yet impactful challenges of moving abroad is managing homesickness. A little taste of home can go a long way in easing this feeling. I recommend packing some of your favorite snacks from home. Not only will they provide a comforting nibble during late-night study sessions or moments of nostalgia, but they can also be a great way to share your culture with new friends. Whether it's a spicy treat, sweet biscuits, or something uniquely local to your region, these familiar flavors can bring immense comfort during your initial days at Dartmouth and help bridge connections with peers. Plus, having these treats on hand means you always have a quick cure for when homesickness strikes.

The famous Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp
My American Chinese friend actually brings her Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp to Foco (our main dining hall) every day!

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